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Cross: Day 4 in Pictures

Here are a few snaps from the final powerful day of #CROSScon 2013:

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Cross: Day 3 in Pictures

Here’s a sampling of shots taken on the third day of the conference.

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Cross: Day 2 in Pictures

I’m still rejoicing in the Spirit-filled fellowship and teaching of #CROSScon this past week. Honestly, it perhaps tops my list of conferences where the presence and power of God were most palpably sensed. For some time to come I’ll be sorting through the many profound moments of insight and illumination gained in those four days. But in the meantime, some more pics capturing some moments on day 2 (see day 1 here).

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Duck Dynasty and the Twisted Ironies of Our Current Sexual Politics

Well, our Duck Dynasty friends have found themselves in the news again. The show has been something of an inexplicable (to me, at least) pop culture phenomenon. Not since Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” routines has redneck culture  been so prominent and acceptable and marketable.

But this time Duck Dynasty finds itself on the receiving end of a media backlash that one could predict with just a little exposure to our current cultural climate on sexuality. The now infamous GQ interview with Mr. Phil Robertson has caused something of a furor surrounding the surprisingly popular Duck Dynasty show.

Watching from the distance of a Caribbean island, which is not to be confused with watching from an impartial distance, several ironies surface for me.

1. It’s ironic that a “vulgar” rejection of certain sexual acts cannot co-exist with visual and verbal sexual vulgarity itself.

2. It’s ironic that “vile” remarks are rejected while the vile acts they describe are celebrated.

3. It’s ironic that an end to the censorship of certain sex acts should be accompanied by the use of censorship.

4. It’s ironic that one’s job can be taken away because of their view of human sexuality while sexual orientation is protected against job descrimination.

5. It’s ironic that young girls can parade themselves as hyper-sexualized beings on major awards shows and older men be vilified for graphically expressing their sexual interest.

6. It’s ironic that “wisdom” on the side of normative sexual ethics requires the use of rhetorical restraint while “tolerance” of deviant sexual ethics …

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How to Make a Confession and Extend Forgiveness

It seems God is pleased to teach much of the evangelical world how to make confessions and to extend forgiveness. From comments made in panel discussions about Christian hip hop to radio confrontations over proper citation of written material, we’ve seen a lot of calls for apologies and opportunities for practicing the difficult discipline of forgiving.

This morning I woke up thinking about one of the most helpful and simple set of guidelines for making full confessions of wrongdoing in the hopes of being forgiven and extending complete and joyful forgiveness of the same. It’s called “The Seven A’s of Confession” and “The Four Promises of Forgiveness” published by Peacemaker Ministries. You can read more about these principles at the Peacemaker website or in Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker

Here are the principles with a brief sentence of explanation.

The Seven A’s of Confession (see Matt. 7:3-5; 1 John 1:8-9; Prov. 28:13)

1. Address everyone involved.

We haven’t fully confessed a sin or wrongdoing until we engage all those affected. If the situation happened between two people, then the two involved should be addressed. If I wronged someone before a group, then the group should be addressed.

2. Avoid “if,” “but” and “maybe.”

These are magic words that actually erase the apology. They shift blame or nullify the apology. “If you hadn’t….” “I wouldn’t have ____ but you….” “Maybe things would have been different if… but….” Rarely does this feel like a sincere apology to those who have been wounded or wronged.

3. Admit specifically.

General “I’m …

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5 Things to Do Before Leaving Your Church: The Pastor Edition

In my last post on leaving well when you’re a member of a church several respondents pointed out that pastors often leave churches in very poor way. Sadly, they’re correct. We’ve all heard the horror stories about pastors who announce their departure after the morning service and U-Haul arrives first thing Monday morning. Or, we’re familiar with the all-too-painful accounts of pastors who apparently take a scorched earth approach to leaving, destroying everything they touch before they leave. We can add to that those pastors who leave by splitting the church. The pain abounds.

It’s hard on everyone when a pastor leaves–usually. Sometimes congregations are happy to see a man go and seem to do everything they can to ensure it happens. The story is told of the irate pastor who stood before the unhappy congregation and announced in no uncertain terms that he was leaving. Today would be his last Sunday at that church with those people. Then the congregation spontaneously and in union broke out in song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

We don’t want to be that guy or that church. So, in response to those concerns, I want to offer five things pastors should do before they leave their local churches. The aim would be much the same as the goal of members who leave: to leave in as healthy and Christ-honoring a way possible.

1. Talk with Your Fellow Leaders When You Begin to Think Seriously about Leaving

Most of the problems begin right here. Far too …

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5 Things to Do Before Leaving Your Church

Everyone will leave their church at some point. Whether God calls us home to glory, move to another city, or decide to try a different local church, we are going to leave.

Leaving a local congregation should be one of the most difficult decisions we face. It should be filled with the recollection of our love for the saints, their love for us, our service together in the name of our Lord, and our sorrows and joys in the faith. A church is family and we ought never feel it easy to leave family–even an unhealthy family.

But we do sometimes find ourselves at that crossroads. When we’ve decided to leave, there are at least five things we want to do before we go.

1. Share Your Thinking/Reasons with the Leaders

You’ve no doubt been thinking of leaving for some time. In all likelihood you did not wake up with the sudden new thought, I think I’m going to find another church. The thought has been building for some time. You’ve been piling up observations, minor disappointments, major hurts and persistent longings. You’ve likely done that quietly, without talking to anyone. And you’ve likely kept your silence for good reasons. First, you thought perhaps the situation would change. If you kept quiet things would get better and you wouldn’t have caused a “stir” by saying anything. Then you kept quiet because you didn’t want to spread your concern to others or hurt anyone’s feelings. Finally, you kept quiet because you stopped believing any …

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Christ Is Not Ashamed to Call Us “Brothers,” Therefore Be Unashamed

I love this promo video for T4G 2014. I pray you will join us there. And, more importantly than that, I hope we’ll all pray to be unashamed at every opportunity we have to make Jesus known!

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Preaching on Evangelism at 9Marks @ Southeastern

One of my favorite gatherings each year is the 9Marks @ Southeastern conference. Hosted by one of the most gracious seminarian presidents ever, on one of the most charming campus environments anywhere, with a family feel that you can actually feel, in the most lovely state of all–North Carolina, this conference has southern hospitality and warm fellowship written all over it. No glitz and bling, just the preaching of God’s word, friendly discussion, and lots of hanging out. Shoot, this year I’ve even been invited to join some of the attendees for some NC BBQ! That’s what I’m talking about! I don’t even care if it’s the second best BBQ in N.C. (that being the eastern NC vinegar-based grub). I’m looking forward to this year’s conference and I hope you will (a) pray for us and (b) consider attending. Learn more about the conference and register here

9Marks at Southeastern – Evangelism from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

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Poetry Meets Cinematography in “Eyes Like Judas”

I love the newest poem from Jackie Hill, “Eyes Like Judas.” I love what God is doing with poetry and hip hop, using the forms to bring himself glory! Enjoy!

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